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Challenges for EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Services) for implementing central traceability system

Challenges for EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Services) for implementing central traceability system


What is EMS?

EMS stands for Electronics Manufacturing services. They work as contract manufacturer for Original Equipment Manufacturer.

 EMS industries offer designing, testing, manufacturing, distribute, and provide return/repair services for electronic components and assemblies to OEMs.

Some well known names are Flextronics, Celestica, Sanmina-SCI, Jabil, and Elcoteq.

Challenges faced by EMS for establishing overall control?

EMS companies generally own high cost assets as a basic setup for production. Based on the orders from the OEM’s they produces semi finished, finished goods and ship it to customer distributions hubs.

Different customers demands for different traceability systems. The need of traceability system in view of the customer is to have the specific reports which can be uploaded in their EPR system without any changes or directly through some web services.

So after 3-4 different project ramp downs EMS companies end up with having that many different traceability systems.  For every system they have to have separate IT infrastructure, back up process etc. which keeps IT support team busy even after the ramp down of projects as they have various servers with them which they are not going to use further but due to business needs have to keep them running as idle.

There is a big waiting till they get a customer who will demand for some traceability system which EMS already have and then the idle resources can be utilized.

What to do?

Generally these EMS industries have one central EPR deployed at various manufacturing locations and some of them having some well known traceability products implemented as well. Generally these implementations are done for some specific projects and after the ramp down of that project unfortunately the traceability product is left idle. As always these organizations have paid huge cost for licensing, consulting and implementation cost it is not at all good move to keep such high end systems idles.

As a workaround it is advisable to keep one central traceability component running all over the shop floor and by making little customizations as per customers need use the same system rather than investing in new one. To achieve this they need to focus on in house consultant and expert who can manage system with few customizations and develop the required reports as per need.


Let’s take example of one EMS with SAP ME implemented and SAP ERP running as backbone for inventory control.

If a customer “X” approach them with his specific  reporting need and he might suggest a new traceability system as it is being used at his another contractors the EMS should show them their ability to use SAP ME for the client need. Defiantly there is potential in SAP ME, and with combination of SAP BO it can generate almost any kind of reports which can be directly sent to client servers using web services.


To deliver this there is a need of in-house consulting team which can focus on delivering the right need of customer.  Generally the entire EMS does have such teams but most of the time due to customer influence they fail to use the right system and go for new system.


1. No need to pay all the installation, licensing cost again.

2. Save in lead time for the new system implementation.

3. In house knowledge team can be helpful to implement the projects at various locations which will lead to save huge costs being paid to external consultants.

4. The capabilities can be showed to customers from the pilot built and which will ensure the start of deliveries of product along with required reports.

5. Big saving in IT infrastructure cost as same set up can be used for all the projects.

I need the ideas from experts regarding this so in my next blog I will include those ideas. Now I am focusing on the repair operations and its traceability needs so any idea about that is also welcome.

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